Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, has said that imparting 21st century skills to students requires versatile learning methods that can only be done by teachers who possess the required competencies.
The Deputy Governor said that that is why the APC administration is taking measures to improve teacher quality, by ensuring regular training and retraining of teachers who are in service.
Dr Balarabe stated this while flagging off the induction training organized for 2,000 teachers for the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) at the Kaduna State University (KASU).
Dr. Balarabe explained that for the state to measure up to international standard in public education, it is partnering with development partners, adding that government appreciates ‘’the complementing effort of the federal government through its Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) Project.‘’
She noted that since this administration came on board, the APC state government has demonstrated strong political will to improve the standard of education in the state.
“Accordingly, we have consistently committed an average of 27.3 percent of the state’s budget to education from 2016-2022, which is above the UNESCO benchmark of 26 percent.
“These have enabled us to immensely increase access to quality education for our young ones through the provision of massive infrastructure at all levels of education, recruited qualified teachers, upgraded existing school facilities, and built six new ultra-modern science schools strategically located in all the senatorial districts of the state,’’ she said.
The Deputy Governor underscored the importance of girl child education, emphasizing that “though girls constitute about half of the population of our children, this does not reflect in school enrolments as they are underrepresented in schools.’’
‘’In addition to lack of access, of the few that enter schools, many do not complete their basic and post basic education,’’ she further noted.
Dr Balarabe listed some of the strategies of the state government to expand educational opportunities for the vulnerable, hard-to-reach and the disadvantaged girl-child.
According to her, government provides conditional cash transfer to 24,165 households within the state and 781,533 students (53% female) also benefitted from the Free Uniform Programme.
“A school feeding programme is being implemented to increase enrolment, ensure consistent attendance at school and guarantee improved nutrition for Boarding Secondary Schools and Islamic, Quranic and Tsangaya Education (IQTE) and primary school pupils. About 45% of the boarding schools are for girls only.
“The government also established a school for the Gifted and Talented in order to accord gifted and talented children the opportunity to learn at their own pace,’’ she said.
The Deputy Governor noted that the government is up to date in the payment of NECO/NABTEB fees for candidates from 2016 to date.
‘’The ratio of qualified teachers to pupils has been raised through the recruitment of 1,740 science teachers in secondary schools in 2016, 24,465 teachers in primary schools in 2017 and recruitment of 7,600 secondary school teachers which the trainees of today are part of.
“Our government has also provided 800 computer desktops, 7,000 ICT tablets and built ICT laboratories in schools. Twenty-five schools were equipped with computer laboratories in 2021 and we are currently working on 17 model schools,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe called on guardians, SBMCs, and teachers to support the girl-child to access free and compulsory quality education to bridge the gender and social divides amongst Kaduna state children.